PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A historic West Philadelphia church in ruins is being demolished after it was destroyed by a raging fire last year. But there is a delicate operation underway to preserve a key piece of the Greater Bible Way Temple’s history.
Demolition began on Saturday in the back of the church.
CBS3 captured video of the demolition, which started around 7:30 a.m. on the 1400 block of North 52nd Street in West Philly.
Crews are demolishing the entire building and saving the bell tower, which will be all that will remain once it’s complete.
The bell tower will be a landmark.
Last August, a fire destroyed the church.
Services have been held in a heated tent nearby ever since.
On Saturday, the senior pastor says this day is special.
“The significance of this day, many of our parishioners have been members of our church 30, 40, 50 years. We’ve been at this location for 36 years,” Bishop Benjamin F. Peterson said. “This morning we had an intimate prayer breakfast with the members where they gave stories and testimonies of their experiences as far as baby showers, as far as weddings, engagements, workshops, seminars, baptisms, receiving of the holy spirit and lives being changed.”
Members hope to break ground for a new church in April. They hope to raise $1 million for the new building.
Greater Bible Way Temple has a GoFundMe page set-up for donations.